Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday February 02, 2011 - 02:03:00 PM

Can You Hear Me Now? Keith Olberman’s Firing; Don’t Gut the Clean Air Act; Alzheimer’s Reign of Terror;Street Music; Basic Needs;Republicans are at It Again; Tree-Sit as Viewed by a Yahoo from La-La Land 


Can You Hear Me Now? 

AT&T wireless now covers 97% of Americans. That is, everything but the left ear, the right ear, and the mouth. 

Dave Blake 

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Keith Olberman’s Firing  

MSNBC's release of Keith Olbermann reminds me of an old myth of liberal media bias. Actually commercial TV news is dominated by just a few corporations: NBC Universal/GE, ABC/Disney, CBS/Viacom, CNN/Time Warner, Fox/News Corp., New York Times Co., Washington Post/Newsweek, Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones, Tribune Co., Gannett, and Knight-Ridder. 

And these media corporations share members of the board of directors with a variety of other large corporations, including banks, investment companies, oil companies, health care and pharmaceutical companies, and technology companies. 

For example, NBC Universal, which was recently acquired by ComCast, is the parent company of MSNBC. NBC has interlocking directorates with the following companies, Anheuser-Busch, Ann Taylor, Avon, Banco Nacional de Mexico, Cambridge Technology Partners, Chase Manhattan, Chubb Corporation, Coca-Cola, Dell Computer, Community Health Systems, Morgan Chase & Co., Home Depot, Kellogg, Morgan Gauranty Trust, New York Stock Exchange, Oglivy & Mather, State Street Bank and Trust, Sun Microsystems, Texaco, and Unilever. And this is only a partial list. Hardly a hot bed of liberalism. 

Who are the major advertisers on TV, the ones who pay the media bills: oil companies, beer companies, auto manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, electronics manufacturers, etc. Who are the usual talking heads, the so-called experts on TV news: retired military officers and former government employees. We don't often hear from union leaders, environmentalists, and critics of the administration. Given the makeup of commercial TV news, it is easy to understand why MSNBC didn't want a liberal/progressive like Olbermann on the air anymore even though his "Countdown" show had the highest ratings. 

We are going to miss you Mr. Olbermann. Hopefully, your departure from the media will only be a temporary one. 

Ralph E. Stone 


Don’t Gut the Clean Air Act 

I am very concerned about the environmental and health impacts of the
unlimited amounts of carbon pollution that big polluters are currently
allowed to dump into our air. 

One of our country's most iconic species--polar bears located off the
coast of Alaska--only stand a chance of survival if we hold big
polluters accountable to reducing their carbon pollution, starting

That's why I am disturbed to hear that Congress is currently
considering rollbacks to our country's clean air protections as a favor
to big polluters 

Only polluters benefit by attacking the Clean Air Act. Our elected
officials must come to understand that this was not what anyone had in
mind when people voted last November. 

Call your US Congressman now! 

Marilyn Campbell 


Alzheimer’s Reign of Terror 

Yesterday's mail brought heartbreaking letters informing me that not only one, but two, close friends have been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer's. In both cases it was family members who revealed the grim news -- one a husband, the other a son. The cases are eerily similar, with both victims themselves recognizing that their thinking is confused. 

My one friend, who I'll call Mary, willingly agreed to seek diagnostic assistance from the University of California San Francisco Center for Memory and Aging. The results of a very thorough medical, neurologist and cognitive diagnosis conducted by the Staff of UCSF CMA showed that Mary has a combination of Alzheimer's and Lewy Body Disease -- an affliction that causes her to believe that her husband of 48 years is an imposter! Mary has long expected to be afflicted by Alzheimer's as her mother died of this disease 20 years ago. At the suggestion of her doctor, she's trying out the drug Aricept to see if this will help with her memory problems. Her understanding and compassionate husband advises against extending well-meaning expressions of condolences, but rather "to interact with her in a as normal and respectful manner as possible and to let any anomalies we hear from her float by as gracefully as possible." 

My other friend, let's call her Jane, has also showed evidence of dementia, in particularly her short term memory. Her daughter therefore took her to a specialist for cognitive assessment. It was determined that she should have round-the-clock companionship. But, given her social nature, the idea of a good group living setting seemed far better than a home-care attendant. Fortunately her daughter found an excellent facility in Alameda, where no more than fourteen women live in their own wing. Jane has a large, lovely room with her own art and furniture and a private bath. She enjoys communal meals with other women and leads the group in songs, and is alight with joy -- still the positive and loving person we all know. 

By coincidence, with the distressing news about my two friends, I received an appeal from the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in Berkeley pointing out that Alzheimer's has become America's sixth leading cause of death, with more than 5 million Americans in the grip of this disease. All of us live in fear that WE will become the next victim! We can only hope and pray that a cure will be found to end this sinister reign of terror. 

Dorothy Snodgrass 

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Street Music 

It is music to the mind to hear the Tunisian and Egyptian street sounds. It is however John Cage music. The other tunes made in Tunisia don’t travel on the Internet, nor are the rap takes translated by NYT or WSJ. 

Nevertheless I remembered the title of a Dizzy tune “Nights in Tunisia” that could be an appropriate song to play before a review of Tunisia’s uprising. 

Ben Ali is the first elected dictator to go, followed by another elected American/Israeli clone in Egypt followed (we hope) by Yemen’s leadership and with a push from Arabs against another military recipient of US foreign policy, the King of Jordon who is rumored to be changing his name to Prime Minister. 

The people’s shove against the US military funded Arab dictators is a delight. However, also hair raising, understanding the connection the Egyptian Military has to the Pentagon: 1.3 - 2 billion a year devoted to purchasing US military equipment, Egypt’s bonus for 1979 recognition of Israel. 

The Rafah Gaza crossing will eventually be opened to Egypt. Is it possible for Israel to maintain that concentration camp? For those of us in despair of the Empire’s juggernaut we can see the Palestinian people’s chance to survive, as the militarized US/Israeli foreign policy wrangles, wobbles and weakens. 


R. G. Davis, Ph.D. 

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Basic Needs 

The basic needs for all human beings are food, clothing and shelter. It seems wrong to take away the basic means of living from low income people. This should not happen in any society that considers itself civilized. I know that intelligence and hard work bring just monetary rewards, but what happens to those who don't have the brains or the employment opportunity to make a living? How should such people be able to buy food, clothing and shelter? How should these people be able to survive on our planet? 

When we want to balance the budget, we forget the poor and their families. I have been thinking about the budget crisis and I feel tax increases on luxury items such as movie tickets, cosmetics, alcohol and cigarettes makes sense. But tax increases on gas or bus and train fares should never happen. Such taxes only hurt the poor or low income families. I am not an advocate of socialism but I believe that "let live" builds a community. The least able are not just cast out and told to fend for themselves. 

Please suggest remedies for solving the budget problem which keeps the condition of poor people in mind. 

Romila Khanna 


Republicans are at It Again 

Here we go again. Republicans start off the new year pushing for one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills ever; that's after they introduced 600 measures last year in state legislatures to limit access to abortion. 

Anti-abortion extremists are alive and well in America. They continue their relentless demonstrations and vicious intimidation of anyone who is involved and supports abortion clinics. They taunt abortion clients with their hellfire screeds and are big fans of Rush Limbaugh. 

Their heros live in the Old Testament and they use the Bible to justify their actions and agenda. Anti-choice forces carry out their malfeasance under the guise of the Lord. 

Many in the anti-abortion movement still assert that killing doctors who perform abortions is fully justified. These people are religious fanatics. 

There is nothing new in this information, and yet, Americans seem
oblivious to the nature of their scurrilous activities. 

Ron Lowe  

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Tree-Sit as Viewed by a Yahoo from La-La Land 

Please permit me to offer a solution to the problem of Democrat community activist "tree sitters". Bees....Lots of bees. Maybe a wasp nest as well. Just add a garden hose with a strong stream of H2O, and the angry bees and/or wasps will provide a quick solution to the "tree sitters" problem. Repeat as necessary, or add one or two tree climbing black [politically correct] bears or a puma [America Mountain Lion] to the mix. Glad to help. 

J. Craig Herman,Pahoa, HI